Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category
Another gem from John Hurlburt.
“It came to me that every time I lose a dog,
they take a piece of my heart with them….
And every new dog who comes into my life,
gifts me with a piece of their heart.
If I live long enough, all the components of
my heart will be dog …
I will become as generous and loving as they are.“
In memory of my elder sister, Corinne Grace Joiner, nee Handover, who died peacefully in her sleep at 7am yesterday, UK time.
The following video was sent to me a few days ago by John Hurlburt before me hearing the sad news of my sister’s graceful release from extreme dementia. The video seemed a most fitting tribute to Corinne who was a loving friend to me for well over 60 years.
Published on May 5, 2012
Video by Scott Mckinley Productions, Produced for Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for Ad campaign. Licensed music by Kenny G.. This short video won Best of Category at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula Montana! The majority was shot on location in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and The National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
As old as time itself!
The point at which the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator is the Summer Solstice, well it is for the Northern Hemisphere. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21, depending on your time zone.
Here in Southern Oregon, the moment of the Summer Solstice will be 22:04 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on the evening of June 20th and at 05:04 GMT/UTC on June 21 2013 in the United Kingdom.
A quick web ‘look-up’ finds that the word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time, albeit momentarily.
At the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge in Southern England, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect, for many years the Druids have celebrated the Solstice and, undoubtedly, will be doing so again.
Time is not on the side of the wolves and for all those who care for them.
It’s unusual for me to publish a post at this time of the day. However, following my recent post I cry for the wolves I wanted to circulate two recent emails received from the Center for Biological Diversity. Here they are in their original format.
Feel free to forward this post as far and wide as you would like to.
Paul and Jean.
Last week the Obama administration issued a sweeping delisting plan to remove protections for wolves across the lower 48 states. The plan only maintains protections for the small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.
If finalized this proposal will mean the premature end of decades of work to restore wolves to the American landscape — even though wolves currently occupy a mere 5 percent of their historic range.
The proposal also means that states will hold the reins of wolf management across most of the country. We’ve already seen what state management entails for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes, where protections were removed in the past two years — in short, aggressive trapping and hunting seasons designed to drastically reduce populations, resulting in at least 1,600 wolves killed.
Please take action now to halt this delisting plan before it’s too late: Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to turn its back on America’s wolves.
If you can’t open the link, go to http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13725.
The future of America’s wolves is at stake right now: The Obama administration just announced its plans to strip Endangered Species Act protections from nearly all wolves in the lower 48 states.
This announcement means the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is gutting 40 years of wolf conservation and recovery.
And when wolves lose federal protections, they die. Too often they’re hunted, trapped and ruthlessly persecuted with the same vicious attitude that nearly drove them extinct a century ago.
It also means that wolves — absent today from 95 percent of their historic habitat in the continental United States — are virtually guaranteed never to fully recover in places like the Northeast, California, and most of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s expert legal team is already working to get into court right away to stop this terrible plan.
The Center has an amazing track record of saving wolves. We’ve overturned illegal wolf-killing decisions in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Wolves in Oregon today are protected by a court injunction won by the Center. But this will be the biggest wolf case yet, and we need your help to win it.
The entire U.S. wolf recovery program hangs in the balance.
If this decision stands, wolves will never be reintroduced to California, the Northeast or the southern Rocky Mountains. Killing of the small population in Oregon and Washington will ramp up, preventing it from ever recovering. Make no mistake: Despite the government’s warm and fuzzy PR spin, this decision is about ending wolf recovery in the United States once and for all.
Our team of scientists, lawyers and activists has been preparing for this terrible decision, and now — with your help — they’ll begin the biggest legal battle of the decade.
If you’re as sickened as I am by the killing, please help us stop it. Donate to the Wolf Defense Fund today.
For the wolves,
P.S. Because this is an emergency, one of our members will match every gift made by tomorrow, Sunday, June 16. Help us take advantage of this extraordinary offer by donating as much as you can to the Center’s Wolf Defense Fund and passing this appeal on to your friends and social media networks.
P.P.S. If you have problems with the links above, please cut and paste this into your browser: https://org.salsalabs.com/o/2167/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9994&track=E1305G2
This is so wrong.
Like thousands of others I have been supporting the efforts to ensure that the US Government did not proceed with the proposal to remove wolves from endangered species protection.
Wolves are the animals that enabled early man to ‘progress’ from hunter-gatherer to the life of farming, and thence to our modern world. As I write elsewhere on Learning from Dogs,
There is no hard evidence about when dogs and man came together but dogs were certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago.
I used to believe
As some of you may have heard, late last week the Obama Administration officially delisted gray wolves from endangered species protection. This means that 40 years of wolf recovery efforts have come to an end. Wolves only occupy a tiny fraction of their former habitat and with anti-wolf governments occupying the state houses in the few places that still have wolf populations, states like Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Wisconsin, it is hard to imagine that wolves have a bright future in the lower 48 states.
I am deeply, profoundly saddened by this decision. I have learned over time how wolves -like so many other species- just don’t register on the list of national concerns and priorities. A great many people oppose the delisting, in fact one gets the impression that the effort to remove these protections has consistently been guided by political pressures and a political agenda and not by a true commitment to a sustainable and enduring wolf recovery. I know that I am hardly alone in registering my disappointment and voice of protest.
I cannot let this sad milestone pass without acknowledging it here on this blog. If you do not like wolves -if you feel hatred or resentment towards them or are pleased at what has recently transpired, I respectfully request that you refrain from sharing your feelings here. I seldom offer any “directives” like this, but if you are a reader of this blog then you know how strongly I feel about this issue. I am sharing these thoughts because I want to not only draw attention to what has happened, but also because I feel the need to mourn it. I tremble at the thought of a United States -or a North America- without wolves. Defenders of the administration and the Department of Interior’s position will say that the United States Government is committed to protecting wolves and ensuring their future but I am afraid I see things quite differently. This is not a partisan political issue: Democratic and Republican administrations alike are behind this stance towards wolves.
I would like to share a poem which I feel is very incomplete and does not begin to adequately draw upon the well of feelings, concerns and thoughts I have on this subject. But I would be remiss I think if I did not mark what has just happened.
I used to believe
I used to believe that one day
I might live carefully, cooperatively
beside the wolves
I would go to them but respect their
space; wait for their return and tend
my garden with local mind, open my windows
When they moved off I would wait
and make a space; I would lock my guns
in bolted cabinets to honor and not to intrude
I used to believe that there was a chance
of this because there were others who saw
in wolves the same uncertainties and histories
And we, a new community, would redraw
the map, eradicate “the frontier” and perhaps
expunge that word altogether from our plans
It is ironic really how a word, a concept,
one invisible line can have more tendrils
and seeds than a weed, more pups than a pack.
-Jeremy Nathan Marks
The Center for Biological Diversity has been incredibly active in fighting for the continued protection of the wolf. The Press Release about the loss of protection is here. Do read it and do everything you can to help. PLEASE!
Let me share some of my special feelings about wolves.
Back in September, 2009, I wrote about An amazing true story of a relationship between a wild wolf and a man, from which this picture is taken.
Then in February this year, I wrote about Oregon and the wolf. The following picture was in that Post.
Please now listen to this:
So you can see that I have written frequently about wolves; indeed just a few days ago did so and included this photograph.
Now just look at those eyes of the Grey Wolf above and compare them to the eyes of the German Shepherd dog below and tell me that wolves aren’t as close to man as dogs.
Finally, feel free to share this post as far and wide as you can. Learning from Dogs is published under a Creative Commons License. This link covers how to share my material.
Please do something to help these ancient animals who, more than any other creature, helped put mankind ‘on the map’.
Rounding off the week.
Starting with Monday’s video of Carl Sagan reminding us all that Planet Earth is just a grain of sand in the vast cosmos right through to yesterday’s Dealing with madness post, much of the week has been reminding us all of one very fundamental truth. No better expressed than in a comment from Patrice Ayme [my emphasis]:
… there is no healthy man without a healthy world.
Regulars will have noted the high levels of debate this week. Thank you all for those comments.
I have also received a couple of emails with feedback and comments, sent to me on a personal basis. One of those emails had such a powerful message that I begged for permission to publish it on Learning from Dogs. I was asked to keep the author’s identity private but, trust me, it is from someone I know well who subscribes to ideas of integrity and honesty in spades.
The author also strongly recommended publishing in association with his personal essay an extract from Chris Hedges’ book “Death of the Liberal Class”. That extract follows straight on from the essay.
Reflections from a Vietnam Combat Veteran
War is an unnatural dichotomy. Both sides are morally and materially diminished. A future World War would most probably finish us as the self-appointed predominant intelligent species on planet earth. It seems worth noting that German industrialists coordinated fundamentalist propaganda to foster the bigotry, hatred and fear which fueled their profitable war engines prior to World War II.
United States commercial media today reflects a financially dominated military-industrial culture with liberty and justice for sale. The results are divisive and lead to both a declared international war against nebulous assailants we have been taught to dislike and an internal political war that has polarized our once fair nation.
We’ve stopped investing in the future in response to radicals who want to destroy government, human rights and what remains of the earth’s surface resources. There is an emerging police state mentality on display with a variety of candidates for local dictator.
It’s well past time for moderate republicans to ignore their uber-conservative brethren. It’s well past time for moderate democrats to renounce their corporate ties. This will only happen when our financial and political leaders awaken to the reality of what is in the best long-term interests for all life on this planet rather than our present unsustainable global economy.
To complicate the problem, our planet is under attack by a swarm of vociferous human locusts seeking profit without regard to the consequences. Meanwhile, despite human denial, the universe continues to emerge. Species which do not adapt to change do not survive.
It’s important to remember that we’re in the midst of a battle that’s as old as the conscious awareness of the human species. We generally have very little idea of the inclusive nature of our being; let alone the nature of our collective being as a species. We have as yet to learn how to surrender to reality. The battle is with our own species.
Committing collective suicide for quarterly profit is not a sane way of life. What we’ve created is a neo-feudal global economy without any foundation that feeds on an empire of consumption. When we combine a neo-feudal economy with neo-fascist politics we arrive at a moral and biological dead end.
The coup d’état of the current Corporate State is the Citizen’s United ruling that makes money a form of free speech. Money has no DNA. In case anyone missed how the “occupy” movement was crushed, there’s no question that we’re rapidly criminalizing all forms of dissent. These actions are being taking under the 1917 Espionage Act and related state secrets acts. No discernment of moral value is considered and no public hearings are conducted. People who speak up are locked up. We’ve become a fearful and secretive population.
Our self-appointed elite power structure is completely irrational in its belief that human reason is our ultimate power and money is its servant. We are made of the stuff of the stars. At best, we’re in our adolescence as a species. We think we know the answers rather than admitting our ignorance. What little we know is vastly less than what we have as yet to learn. We are often unaware of being unaware.
The lives we presently lead can not be sustained in ways that we have become accustomed to; ways we take for granted. What’s going to need to change? The simple answer is everything. Our species has systemically corrupted the small part of the cosmos which sustains our being. Nature has no sense of humor, no patience for human squabbles and no financial interest.
Fortunately, we already know what we need to do to adapt. We know how nature works through the wisdom of our earth sciences. The answer is simple. Love the earth. Love life. Share compassion. Educate, naturally energize, and transform. The resulting process of change will help re-establish a realistic world economic foundation.
‘Death of the Liberal Class’
By Chris Hedges
From the book “Death of the Liberal Class,” by Chris Hedges. Excerpted by arrangement with Nation Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2010.
The following selection is taken from the first chapter of the book, published in October 201 by Nation Books.
In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.
But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of its victims. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And reducing the liberal class to courtiers or mandarins, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, shuts off this safety valve and forces discontent to find other outlets that often end in violence. The inability of the liberal class to acknowledge that corporations have wrested power from the hands of citizens, that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty have become irrelevant, and that the phrase consent of the governed is meaningless, has left it speaking and acting in ways that no longer correspond to reality. It has lent its voice to hollow acts of political theater, and the pretense that democratic debate and choice continue to exist.
The liberal class refuses to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch. Churches and universities—in elite schools such as Princeton, professors can earn $180,000 a year—enjoy tax-exempt status as long as they refrain from overt political critiques. Labor leaders make lavish salaries and are considered junior partners within corporate capitalism as long as they do not speak in the language of class struggle. Politicians, like generals, are loyal to the demands of the corporate state in power and retire to become millionaires as lobbyists or corporate managers. Artists who use their talents to foster the myths and illusions that bombard our society live comfortably in the Hollywood Hills.
The media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions—the pillars of the liberal class—have been bought off with corporate money and promises of scraps tossed to them by the narrow circles of power. Journalists, who prize access to the powerful more than they prize truth, report lies and propaganda to propel us into a war in Iraq. Many of these same journalists assured us it was prudent to entrust our life savings to a financial system run by speculators and thieves. Those life savings were gutted. The media, catering to corporate advertisers and sponsors, at the same time renders invisible whole sections of the population whose misery, poverty, and grievances should be the principal focus of journalism.
In the name of tolerance—a word the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., never used—the liberal church and the synagogue refuse to denounce Christian heretics who acculturate the Christian religion with the worst aspects of consumerism, nationalism, greed, imperial hubris, violence, and bigotry. These institutions accept globalization and unfettered capitalism as natural law. Liberal religious institutions, which should concern themselves with justice, embrace a cloying personal piety expressed in a how-is-it-with-me kind of spirituality and small, self-righteous acts of publicly conspicuous charity. Years spent in seminary or rabbinical schools, years devoted to the study of ethics, justice, and morality, prove useless when it comes time to stand up to corporate forces that usurp religious and moral language for financial and political gain.
Universities no longer train students to think critically, to examine and critique systems of power and cultural and political assumptions, to ask the broad questions of meaning and morality once sustained by the humanities. These institutions have transformed themselves into vocational schools. They have become breeding grounds for systems managers trained to serve the corporate state. In a Faustian bargain with corporate power, many of these universities have swelled their endowments and the budgets of many of their departments with billions in corporate and government dollars. College presidents, paid enormous salaries as if they were the heads of corporations, are judged almost solely on their ability to raise money. In return, these universities, like the media and religious institutions, not only remain silent about corporate power but also condemn as “political” all within their walls who question corporate malfeasance and the excesses of unfettered capitalism.
Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with members who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated negotiators with the capitalist class. Cars rolling off the Ford plants in Michigan were said to be made by UAW Ford. But where unions still exist, they have been reduced to simple bartering tools, if that. The social demands of unions in the early twentieth century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour workday, and Social Security, have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. The arts, just as hungry as the media or the academy for corporate money and sponsorship, refuse to address the social and economic disparities that create suffering for tens of millions of citizens. Commercial artists peddle the mythical narrative, one propagated by corporations, self-help gurus, Oprah and the Christian Right, that if we dig deep enough within ourselves, focus on happiness, find our inner strength, or believe in miracles, we can have everything we desire.
Such magical thinking, a staple of the entertainment industry, blinds citizens to corporate structures that have made it impossible for families to lift themselves out of poverty or live with dignity. But perhaps the worst offender within the liberal class is the Democratic Party.
The party consciously sold out the working class for corporate money. Bill Clinton, who argued that labor had nowhere else to go, in 1994 passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which betrayed the working class. He went on to destroy welfare and in 1999 ripped down the firewalls between commercial and investment banks to turn the banking system over to speculators. Barack Obama, who raised more than $600 million to run for president, most of it from corporations, has served corporate interests as assiduously as his party. He has continued the looting of the U.S. Treasury by corporations, refused to help the millions of Americans who have lost their homes because of bank repossessions or foreclosures, and has failed to address the misery of our permanent class of unemployed.
Populations will endure the repression of tyrants, as long as these rulers continue to manage and wield power effectively. But human history has demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet insist on retaining the trappings and privileges of power, their subject populations will brutally discard them. Such a fate awaits the liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state. The liberal class has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power. And as corporate power pollutes and poisons the ecosystem and propels us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded. The death of the liberal class means there is no check to a corporate apparatus designed to enrich a tiny elite and plunder the nation. An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope, however remote, of a correction or a reversal. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and middle classes will find expression outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy.
Love as seen through the Celtic spiritual belief of bonding souls.
Who hasn’t lifted their eyes to the skies above and become lost in themselves? Whether the drama of a turbulent daytime sky or the deep mystery of an endless, clear night, sky? Doesn’t matter who we are or where we have or haven’t been in our lives, experiencing that shift from ‘reality’ to a place of souls is familiar to all.
Right at the front of Richard Bach’s lovestory book The Bridge Across Forever, there’s this quotation from E.E. Cummings:
- how fortunate are you and I, whose home
is timelessness: we who have wandered down
from fragrant mountains of eternal now
to frolic in such mysteries as birth
and death a day (or maybe even less)
Then on page 9, Richard Bach writes as part of his introduction:
We think, sometimes, there’s not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile.
We think sometimes that ours is an age past frontiers, past adventures. Destiny, it’s way over the horizon; glowing shadows galloped past long ago, and gone.
What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure …. not only are they here-and-now, they’re all that ever lived on earth!
Our century, they’ve changed clothes, of course. Dragons wear government-costumes, today, and failure-suits and disaster-outfits. Society’s demons screech, whirl down on us should we lift our eyes from the ground, dare we turn right at corners we’ve been told to turn left. So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden from themselves.
Yet masters of reality still meet us in dreams to tell us that we’ve never lost the shield we need against dragons, that blue fire voltage arcs through us now to change our world as we wish. Intuition whispers true: We’re not dust, we’re magic!
Copyright (1984) Richard Bach.
Richard Bach’s hugely popular lovestory is widely summarised, thus:
‘Did you ever feel that you were missing someone you had never met?’.
Haunted by the ghost of the wise, mystical, lovely lady who lives just around the corner in time, Richard Bach begins his quest to find her, to learn of love and immortality not in the here-after, but in the here and now. Yet caught in storms of wealth and success, disaster and betrayal, he abandons the search, and the walls he builds for protection become his prison. Then he meets the one brilliant and beautiful woman who can set him free, and with her begins a transforming journey, a magical discovery of love and joy.
Just pause and listen. Hear your intuition whispering to you: You are not dust, you are magic!
Now let’s turn to another author: John O’Donohue. WikiPedia has an entry that starts:
John O’Donohue (1 January 1956 – 4 January 2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality.
His death in January 2008 just a few days past his 52nd birthday was a huge and tragic loss. Not just to his family and all who knew him, but to all those in the world who dream the spiritual bonding with another person.
John O’Donohue’s book is no better appreciated than by hugging the meaning of that Celtic phrase anam cara, assuming you aren’t a Celtic speaker! A quick web search finds an explanation typically like this:
In the Celtic Spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates all about the physical body. What some refer to as an aura. When you connect and become completely open and trusting with another person, your two souls begin to flow together. The forming of that deep bond is described as having found your anam cara or soul friend.
Your anam cara always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light. Inevitably, to appreciate this relationship, you must first recognize your own inner light and beauty. This is not always easy to do! The Celts believed that forming an anam cara friendship would help you awaken to your own inner light and beauty, as a pathway to experiencing the joys of others.
According to John O’Donahue, an accomplished Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic priest, “…You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home.“
Do you sense how the writings of Richard Bach and John O’Donohue are two hues from the same rainbow?
Take a few minutes and explore the John O’Donohue website that has much to remember about this wonderful man. Embrace such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:
- Light is generous
- The human heart is never completely born
- Love as ancient recognition
- The body is the angel of the soul
- Solitude is luminous
- Beauty likes neglected places
- The passionate heart never ages
- To be natural is to be holy
- Silence is the sister of the divine
- Death as an invitation to freedom
I’m going to offer two videos. They are both of John O’Donohue. One is 51 minutes and one is 5 minutes. Do watch them both but if for whatever reason you cannot do that, then please watch the shorter one.
Now read this quotation from the book.
Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.
and recognising this post is day three of writing about love, here’s another quotation:
If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.
Are Jean and I touched by the spirit of anam cara? Leave you, dear reader, to judge that. In fact, leave you with the sign that is on our front gate!
Repeat after me: We are of this planet! It’s really very simple!
There are times when I look back at my writings on Learning from Dogs, now well over 1,500 posts (1,633 as of today, to be anal about it!) and ponder if the fundamental message behind the name of the blog often gets overlooked. The Welcome page states:
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!
Elsewhere on the blog, I underpin that proposition by listing the attributes of dogs:
- are integrous ( a score of 210) according to Dr David Hawkins
- don’t cheat or lie
- don’t have hidden agendas
- are loyal and faithful
- love unconditionally
- value and cherish the ‘present’ in a way that humans can only dream of achieving
- are, by eons of time, a more successful species than man.
Now this is all fine and dandy but of what relevance is this to the mess that homo sapiens now finds itself in? Two parts to that answer come to mind.
The first part is that watching a dog out in the open countryside quickly brings home the fact that these animals are part of nature and, if push comes to shove, can live in the wild and fend for themselves. Not saying that a domestic dog would enjoy the experience but that their wild dog and grey wolf roots still rest somewhere in a dog’s consciousness.
The second part of the answer is that all animals instinctively live in harmony, in balance, with their surroundings; with their environment.
For the incredibly obvious reason that dogs, as with all other animal species, are an evolutionary consequence of the natural history of Planet Earth. That evolutionary journey from the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) part of the Canidae family, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago. That journey all the way to the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris).
That ancient journey where the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus – painted dog) came together with early man. No one knows when but the African wild dog was certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago!
Two vastly different natural species, dog and man, evolving compatibly with each other for so many thousands of years.
Back to the attributes of dogs, in particular a dog’s ability to cherish the present. Earlier this week I was chatting with Kevin Dick, friend from Payson, AZ days, about the ‘interesting’ times we are living in. Kevin thought there was a significant difference between the generations born in the 1940′s and 1950′s and those born in later times. Most people over the age of, say 55, were brought up to save for ‘a rainy day’ and, possibly, be able to leave a legacy to their offspring. Kevin then went on to reflect that more recent generations exhibit a ‘buy today, don’t delay’ mentality.
A by-product of this materialistic instant gratification approach is that the whole damn consumer machine has created a total disconnect with the fact that we humans are of this planet.
“The earth is the mother of all people..“
(Chief Joseph 1840 – 1904, leader of the Wallowa band, a Native American tribe
indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon)
Humans today fail to comprehend this fundamental fact: Our ability to harm the planet and think that it won’t affect our species is complete madness! If only we could learn how to cherish the present in the way that our dogs do!
I’m now going to offer an essay from John Hurlburt. I knew John had written this essay but didn’t get round to reading it properly until I had finished the introduction above. I’m blown away by the resonance between the two but, as always, John’s words are so much more eloquent.
Climate change, religion, economics, government, politics and social issues are topics which create strong personal opinions and cultural divisions. We have difficulty accepting ideas which may conflict with our personal understandings. As usual, it’s an ego thing. The arrogance of our species is inclusive. We all suffer the consequences.
To counter our ego, we know that everything fits together. We exist in a unified cosmos with fluctuations and diversities that emerge around and through us.
Our present transformative state is as a biological form of energy and matter which possesses a conscious awareness of the natural order. We choose to ignore or deny the essential nature of our being at our own peril. Do we live only for the moment or do we live to insure our species future? That’s our fundamental choice.
“Seek the truth and identify the common good.” Zoroaster [also known as Zarathustra, Ed.]
We are a consciously aware component of a living world in an isolated corner of a remote galaxy. Everything within and on the earth has an extraterrestrial origin. We live on an incubator we call the earth. We rarely truly communicate with or fully understand the energy of nature in our lives. Our critical thinking ability has become enveloped by an electronic cloud.
We generally agree that the actions of many religions and most politics are based upon short term human interests rather than upon the long term well being of our planet and its disappearing life forms. The fact is that we only began to emerge as a species about 100,000 years ago. Hubble telescope observations have dated our universal origin to roughly 13,002,000,000 years ago.
Could it be that we only imagine ourselves as independent beings? Could it be that beyond the mind games we play there is a vast reality greater that we can understand with our limited sensory apparatus and our finite minds?
Life is a transformative experience. All species, tribes, races and genders are united by the nature of life. We pass through a period of being selfish and ambitious during our journey. Many of us choose to move into these familiar ruts and furnish them. We do not always walk the way we talk.
Nature favors species which adapt to constant change in an emerging universe.
If we agree that our intelligence is judged by choices we make, there is some question about intelligent human life on earth. A recent Harvard University study of species in relation to change estimates that the life span of the human species is approximately 100,000 years. Sound familiar?
The wisdom of our brief human history tells us that we are on a careless and needless path to self destruction. All that’s necessary to verify this assertion is to turn on the news of the day. The systemic paradigm that has been imprinted on our psyches is in constant flux. As we live and learn, we realize that our purpose is to leave life better than we found it.
A delicate balance is necessary to maintain an even strain of faith in the natural process rather than dwelling upon our self centered fears of losing something we imagine we own or not attaining something we believe we want. The earth heals itself from the inside out. We can do the same as a species. Today is the tomorrow we dreamed of yesterday. What have we done to fulfill the true purpose of our lives?
an old lamplighter
So, yes, we have much to learn from dogs.
I will close as I started. We are of this planet! It’s really very simple!
Please take two minutes to read this now.
Back over two years ago, when Jean and I were living in Payson, Arizona, I wrote a post called Tara’s Babies. Here’s a flavour of that post:
Many who follow this Blog will know that my beautiful wife, Jean, is totally devoted to dogs, especially rescue dogs. Over the years that she and her previous husband Ben lived in Mexico, Jean must have rescued at least 70 dogs. Even today, we have 11 ex-rescue dogs enjoying a fabulous life in our mountain home here in Payson, Arizona.
So it was a big surprise to come across a dog rescue organisation called Tara’s Babies and find that their sanctuary is in our neighbourhood.
Here’s a description of the organisation taken from the local newspaper from September 9th, 2009.
By Alan R. Hudson
It has been nearly five years since Tara’s Babies Animal Welfare began rescuing animals displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Tara’s Babies operates a no-kill animal rescue and sanctuary “off the grid” at the Ellinwood Ranch, near Young.
Anyway, Alan Hudson left a comment a few minutes ago to the effect that Tara’s Babies is closing. Confirmed by going to their website.
The reason why this post is being published straightaway is because of the urgent need to find homes for 24 dogs. Take a look at those dogs; please!
I’m republishing what you can read on the Tara’s Babies website – please share this news as far and wide as you can. These dogs need good homes.
Tara’s Babies Animal Welfare
No Kill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary
Practice kindness, save a life…change the world
Tara’s Babies began in 2005 as a desperate cry from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina left thousands of dogs and cats, homeless and suffering. Our founder sent a crew of volunteers to search the flooded buildings for animals in need. We rescued 17 dogs and a kitten. and thus began Tara’s Babies Animal Welfare (TBAW).
While down there, we paired with Best Friends and arranged an airlift to bring 150 dogs and cats from Tylertown, MS to Phoenix, AZ. Waiting at the airport when we arrived was a cattle transporter, volunteers and SUV’s to take the animals to Dakini Valley, AZ.
Our sanctuary at Dakini Valley is located on 157 acres in the remote Hell’s Gate Wilderness. Here the dogs and cats were cared for with love and attention three full-time volunteers until every one of the Katrina dogs were re-homed or found forever homes, with the exception of 15 dogs who were non-adoptable needing lifetime sanctuary. As the original Katrina animals were placed, we found our true mission evolve into saving animals from death row.
Since then we have worked tirelessly networking with other rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries to continuously save dogs from death row. Connections were made as far as Taiwan! Pipi, a Taiwanese dog, was brought to our sanctuary through this connection.
We have had as many as 71 dogs at once at the sanctuary. Even those dogs considered non-adoptable, who are human or dog aggressive, have benefited from the peaceful surroundings of the land and our love. These dogs have demonstrated good behavior with their caretakers and some have even been paired with a companion dog.
Due to unforeseen medical and other issues we lost our director and several volunteers bringing the number of volunteers down to only one. Out of concern for the safety of the dogs coupled with ongoing financial difficulties, the Tara’s Babie’s board made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to close our doors.
We will continue to lovingly care for each of the dogs until ALL are placed.
Please help the remaining dogs at the sanctuary. Click HERE to see them!. If you can help us with adoptions or placement in another sanctuary please contact us at email@example.com or call 928-301-1392. You can also visit our Facebook page for photos and stories.
(Tara’s Babies sanctuary is located outside Payson, Arizona. Most administrative and support operations are in Sedona Arizona. The telephone number is 928-301-1392. Leave a message.)
Once again, if there is anything you can do, please be in direct contact with Tara’s Babies. Feel free to leave any comments or news here.
Thank you so much.
Sharing the truth of who each of us really is!
I subscribe to Christine’s blog 350 or bust. As the home page declares, Christine is “a mother, an educator, and a former registered nurse, concerned about climate change.”
Being a follower of Christine’s blog I automatically received an email on Tuesday about her latest post. This is what that email said,
It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust. Here’s a fascinating TEDx talk by South African trainer and speaker Bruce Muzik whose “passion is having people experience unprecedented freedom and happiness, through being Authentic.“
To be perfectly honest, it didn’t strike me as something that I would watch anytime soon. However, fate decided to intervene!
Because yesterday, Wednesday, I went up to Portland for an interview today to convince the authorities that I was safe to have my US Residency renewed (aka Green Card). So last Tuesday, when I was writing these words, I thought I would just grab something quickly for today’s post. Christine’s TED talk seemed an easy answer.
I started to watch the video and within just a few minutes was overwhelmed with Bruce Muzik’s story. At the 7 minute mark I paused the video and wrote these words. The title of today’s post comes from the video just a moment after the 7 minute point.
While the video is about Bruce confronting his inner fears over his racial prejudices, and is no less moving for doing that, there was another message surfacing in parallel in my consciousness.
As I wrote not so long ago under the title of Going beyond the self, ”the human psyche lives in a bubble of delusion.” In the same way that Bruce had to cast aside his delusions and embrace the reality of black people, we have to cast aside our delusions about the way the world is heading. Which is why Christine’s title How Our Secrets Steal Our Lives was just perfect.
So without further ado, here is that speech by Bruce Muzik. Twenty minutes of pure, gorgeous inspiration.
Want more? Bruce has a blog here.